Fifteen year old Abigail is the granddaughter of Lord General Charles Cornwallis. She is sent to America after her parents pass away from tuberculosis. I made a small change to this chapter. You'll see why in later chapters! I do not own any characters except for Abigail.
The Courtship of Abigail Cornwallis
It was a warm summer day, a nice day to be outside. I stood on the deck of the ship, watching the sea gulls glide in the air. A profound sadness comes over me as I remember the reason why I'm on this ship. My parents had both fallen ill and passed away. My mother passed first, followed by my father a few days later. Father told me the day before he passed that I would to sent to America to be with my grandfather. My grandfather is the Lord General Charles Cornwallis. He serves in the British Army as His Majesty's top general. I am proud to be his granddaughter.
"Lady Cornwallis," a servant says, "we will be in Charles Town in a couple minutes."
"Thank you." I say, dismissing him. I am to be met by some of my grandfather's officers, a Colonel William Tavington and a Captain Andrew Bordon. I decide to go to the bow of the ship to see if I can spot Charles Town. I can see it from a distance. It isn't had to spot since there are numerous ships at the pier. We land at the port of Charles Town and the captain of the ship comes to help me get off the ship.
"Welcome to America my lady." He says. I smile and turn to look for the two officers who were sent to meet me. I spot them and make my way towards them.
"Lady Cornwallis," one of them says with a bow, "I am Colonel Tavington.:
"How was your trip my lady?" the other man asks.
"It was lovely." I say with a smile.
"I'm Captain Bordon." He says, taking my hand and kissing the top of it.
"You're grandfather is eager to see you." Colonel Tavington says.
"I cannot wait to see him. How is he?" I ask as the colonel leads me to a carriage.
"He is well." He replies as he helps me get into the carriage. I turn to Captain Bordon, who is supervising the servants that are loading my luggage into a wagon.
"Who is riding with me?" I ask curiously.
"I am," Colonel Tavington says, "Captain Bordon will be riding on the luggage wagon. My dragoons are waiting outside the city limits to escort us."
"Ah, I see," I say as he climbs into the carriage," how many dragoons do you have now?"
"A little over two hundred, my lady." He says.
"That is quite impressive." I say as Captain Bordon walks up.
"Everything is ready, sir," he says, "we can leave now."
We leave Charles Town are met up by the Green Dragoons. They flank both wagons to escort us to Fort Carolina.
"Colonel, how long until we get there?" I ask, a half hour into our journey.
"About an hour and a half, my lady." He says, keeping his eyes on the road. I decide to take the opportunity to study his features. He has dark hair which is tied up in a queue. His jaw is smooth and chiseled. I can tell that he is very strong just by looking at how big he is. I judge that he six foot, remembering how I had to look up at him when we first met.
"Is something wrong, my lady?" he asks, turning his blues on me.
"Nothing, I was just trying to study your character." I say, blushing.
"Ah…I see," he says with a smile, "and what have you discovered?"
"Well…you are very strong, making you a good candidate to be a leader. You can be stubborn and fiery, judging by the way your jaw is set. But…you do have your moments of kindness…judging from your smile." I say, causing him to chuckle.
"The colonials would disagree," he says, "they call me 'The Butcher'."
"Oh? Well…they should have every reason to fear you." I say, looking at the horses pulling our carriage. The colonel looks at me and frowns.
"Your grandfather would disagree, my lady," he says, "he wants us to be diplomatic so that we can have peach with them after this war is over."
"That sounds like my grandfather." I say with a smile.
"And that looks like your grandfather." The colonel says, pointing ahead. I look and squint my eyes to see what he's pointing at. I see a group of men sitting on horses ahead of us. Two of them have powdered wigs on their heads.
"Grandfather!" I call out as the carriage slows to a stop in front of them.
"Abigail! My darling grandchild!" he says after dismounting. I jump into his arms as he walks up to the carriage.
"I have missed you so much." I say as he hugs me.
"I decided to ride out to meet you. I couldn't wait to see my granddaughter." He says, looking down at me.
"General O' Hara!" I say as the other man with a powdered wig comes up.
"Lady Cornwallis, look how you've grown." He says with a bow.
"I still have that doll you gave me when I was five." I say to him.
"Ah, how is Miss Petticoat?" he asks with a smile.
"She is fine. She has since retired from the life of being my constant companion." I say tossing a curl of hair over my shoulder. He chuckles and smiles as I give him a hug.
"My lord, I do believe that we will have trouble keeping the men away from Miss Abigail." He says.
"She is beautiful isn't she?" my grandfather asks.
"That she is my lord." O' Hara says with a smile.
"That is why I put her under the care of Colonel Tavington. The men will think twice before touching her." Grandfather says. I look at the colonel, who nods at me.
"I assure you that no harm shall come to you my lady." He says.
"Thank you, colonel." I say as grandfather helps me get back into the carriage.
"Only half and hour my dear grandchild." He says as he and O'Hara mount their horses. They ride beside us and we all talk about many different things. The talking ends as soon as we reach Fort Carolina. The gates open and we all enter.
"Welcome home, my lady." The colonel says as he brings the carriage to a halt. I look around me to see soldiers lined up on both sides of the carriages. They lead all the way up to a big, brick mansion. To my right is a makeshift jail cell for prisoners. There are stables to the left.
"Where is the army?" I ask.
"The camp is about a mile from here." The colonel says as he gets out of the carriage. He comes around and helps me get out of the carriage. Grandfather walks up and takes my hand.
"Come, I have a gift for you." He says as we walk up to the mansion. Two servants open the doors and bow as we enter. Grandfather leads me into a drawing room and has me sit down on a couch. He leaves me with O'Hara, Tavington, and Bordon to go fetch my gift.
"He is very excited about giving you this gift." O'Hara says, taking a seat on the couch beside me. Tavington and Bordon sit across from us on the other couch.
"Here we are!" Grandfather says as he reappears. He's holding something small in his arms. I notice it move as he comes closer and places it on my lap.
"A puppy," I say as it looks up at me, "oh…it's so cute."
"That is a puppy from one of O'Hara's dogs." Grandfather says as the puppy studies me.
"That is a male beagle, my lady." O'Hara says.
"I will call him Alexander." I say, looking at him.
"I am honored that you gave him my middle name," O' Hara says with a smile, "thank you."
Alexander begins to wiggle in my arms. I look down at him and pat her on the head.
"O'Hara has a gift for you as well." Grandfather says.
"It is outside, let me take you to it." He says. I take his arm and we all walk out to the stables. I watch in surprise as a servant leads a white horse towards us.
"For me?" I ask, staring at the magnificent beast before me.
"Of course, my lady," O'Hara says, "I chose her for you…I thought you might like a horse of your very own."
"Thank you," I say, walking over to my horse, "I'll name her Duchess."
"A fine name, my lady." O'Hara says as I stoke Duchess's muzzle.
"I will take you out for a ride sometime." Tavington says as I turn my fingers through the mare's soft mane.
"I would appreciate that." I say, gracing him with a smile. O'Hara walks up behind me and pats Duchess.
"O'Hara, I have some things I need to discuss with Colonel Tavington," my grandfather says, "please keep Abigail company while we're inside.
"Certainly, my lord." O'Hara says. My grandfather makes his way back into the mansion, followed by Tavington and Bordon. Alexander wiggles in my arms and tries to lick O'Hara's hand.
"You silly little puppy." I say, lifting him up. He wags her tail and lets out a little bark.
"He is quite the talker." O'Hara says with a chuckle. He scratches him behind the ears and smiles as he licks his fingers. I set the wriggling puppy down and watch as he bounds over to one of the soldiers lining the path to the mansion. He stops in front of him and tilts his head in curiosity. The soldier looks down at him and smiles when he barks at him. O' Hara calls him over and picks him up.
"Bossy little beast." He says. The puppy starts chewing on his fingers, eliciting an amused smile from him.
"How have you been? It's been ten years since I've seen you last." I say to O'Hara.
"I've been doing well. What about you?" he asks as he hands the puppy to me.
"I have been better. It is hard to believe that my parents are gone." I say, looking down at the ground.
"I am very sorry for your loss, my lady." O' Hara says.
"Thank you for your sympathy." I say, smiling up at him. He returns the smile and moves closer to me.
"You have changed, my lady." He says.
"Oh? How so?" I ask.
"Well…you've grown into such a beautiful, young woman." He says. I notice the blush on his face and smile.
"Thank you General…you are still as handsome as I remember." I say, smiling bashfully.
"Thank you, my lady." He says with a proud smile.
"I would like to go for a walk, would you come with me?" I ask. He holds out his arm and I take it. We walk around the mansion and come to the gardens. I let go of his arm and walk up to some rosebushes. General O' Hara watches me and picks up a rose. He inhales its scent before turning to me.
"For you, my lady." He says, holding it out to me. I accept it and smile shyly at him.
"Thank you…it's so pretty." I say as we continue to walk. Grandfather comes out and smiles proudly at me.
"My darling Abigail! Are you enjoying yourself?" he asks as I run up to him.
"I am grandfather," I say, hugging him, "look what General O' Hara gave me."
Grandfather looks at the rose, then turns to General O'Hara and smiles, "That is a very beautiful rose. Are you hungry?"
"I'm starving!" I say in reply. I take his arm and we go in to the mansion to prepare for dinner.
I have taken well to living here with grandfather. Colonel Tavington and Captain Bordon go out on rides with me when they're available. General O' Hara will go with me if they're unavailable. He even goes out on walks with me in the gardens. Grandfather and I spend a lot of time in the drawing room or taking walks out in the gardens. Little Alexander and Duchess both relish all the attention they can get.
"Grandfather! General O' Hara!" I call out as both men ride into the fort. They both smile and wave as I run up to them. They both dismount and laugh as I throw myself into my grandfather's arms.
"I've missed you! I can't believe you were gone for two months!" I say as he pulls back. He chuckles and looks down at me.
"You're still as beautiful as ever my dear grandchild." He says proudly. I turn to O' Hara and jump into his arms.
"I've miss you too General O' Hara! I have missed your company on my walks." I say as we pull away from each other.
"I have missed you as well, my lady," he says with a smile, "I'm sure that was expressed in the letters that I wrote you. I do know that you expressed how much you missed the both of us in your letters."
"Abigail, come with me…I have something that I'd like to talk to you about." Grandfather says. We go into the drawing room and sit down. I watch as he paces in front of me.
"Grandfather? What is it that you want to say to me?" I ask. He stops and turns to me before sitting down beside me.
"General O' Hara has asked for permission to court you," he says, "you don't have to say yes if you don't want to."
"I want to grandfather…I have always been fond of him." I say, looking up at him. He smiles and stands up.
"I will go tell him then." He says, heading towards the door.
"No…I will tell him myself." I say. I walk to the gardens and find General O' Hara sitting on a bench. He stands up as I walk up to him.
"Abigail…" he says quietly.
"I said yes General." I say. He takes ahold of my hands and pulls me into his arms.
"Darling Abigail…please call me Charles," he murmurs as he holds me, "I will take care of you…I promise."